Comparative Genomics of Non-Model Invertebrates

Ramon Rivera

Ramon Rivera is working on ESR Project 2: Comparative genomics of sponge holobionts under the supervision of Prof. Gert Wörheide at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. A holobiont is a meta-organism that consists of a host and its associated symbionts, frequently microbes - humans are a good example with their gut microbes. It is increasingly appreciated that the interaction between the different players shapes the development, function, and adaptation of the holobiont, but the exact modes and pathways of interaction remain frequently poorly understood. Sponges (Porifera) are another example of a holobiont system with a long evolutionary history, likely more than 550 million years.

In his project, Ramon aims to gain insight into the holobiont of various Tethya species. The main objectives are:
- Sequence novel sponge holobiont genomes from two Tethya sister species.
- Comparatively analyze patterns, pathways, and processes of sponge-microbe (holobiont) interaction and metabolic links in these sister-species using single-cell sequencing.
- Investigate common or divergent genomic signatures of secondary metabolite pathways in these sister-species and reconstruct their evolution.
Before IGNITE, Ramon did his Bachelor degree on Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez Campus (UPRM). After performing undergraduate research at the Marine Sciences Department at UPRM, he decided to continue his graduate studies there, obtaining a Masters degree in Biological Oceanography. Ramon's research consisted of genomics and phylogeny of different marine yeasts from the genus Debaryomyces. During this time, Ramon did collaborations with other labs in which he studied various Caribbean corals using bioinformatics (e.g. Population Genomics, Transcriptomics, and Microbiomes)

Generally, Ramon's research interest is lying the study of marine organisms using bioinformatics. He loves SCUBA diving, mountain biking, traveling, and beers.

Institution: Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

ESR Project 2: Comparative genomics of sponge holobionts

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